I was talking with some other Industry Leaders the other day about what it takes to succeed in our profession. This was an eclectic group from across the country, male and female, across two decades of ages and numerous initial economic situations and ethnicities. Then the thoughts from our discussions marinated for a few days before popping out of my weird brain after a workout.
Being a scientist I like models and acronyms, and as a poet I like things that represent larger concepts and lead to personal interpolation. So the core concepts of success in business, be it financial advising or real estate or coaching, are all concentrated into PARK.
Pride is something I see misrepresented more and more in recent years. I don’t mean the pride of the athlete that expects special treatment because they are freakishly gifted in some capacity (same applies to nerds btw), but the professional pride of doing your best in every situation. Be it shoveling the walkway for the fifth time after a snowstorm or meeting with a client, putting your name and reputation on the line in each thing you do because YOU are doing it, and you expect to put forth maximum effort every time. Because that is what professionals do: their best every single time, in the big things and the mundane. They do all the pre-work to make certain no detail is missed, they exert their will and energy to be as close to perfect as possible in everything they touch.
This isn’t to say a professional is always feeling great, bright and chipper and living on rainbow clouds with unicorns while they wear their rose-colored glasses. It does mean they don’t take days or plays off, that they know their mission is more important than how they feel, that every meeting is critical for the people that they serve. There is a story of the Yankee Clipper, the spectacular DiMaggio not feeling well but still going out on the hallowed grounds of Yankees’ Stadium and giving his all because “some kid in the stands, this is their one chance to see me play.” He felt he owed himself, every iota of his ability, to those that paid to see him. Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?!
Take Pride in what you do, and do it to the best of your capabilities constantly. This alone could make you more successful than you ever dreamed possible.
Action is actually doing. Not sitting, not thinking, not waiting. Making things happen. It is movement that ultimately encourages motivation. Jocko Willink talks about a bias for action and numerous therapist friends talk about taking that first step to move in the right direction. Take the first step, and the next, and the next.
Those who succeed don’t count on things happening, they MAKE things happen. They don’t just throw up a website or create some content and hope to go viral. They grind, they push. They do, be it picking up the phone over and over or sending emails or actually going out and shaking hands and handing their business card to people. They know that the hardest part is starting and so they start, and keep going and going until they overcome the second hardest part of anything: finishing. They do what they have to so they can do what they want to.
Laziness will never lead to success.
Work your butt off, real work that moves you in the direction of your goals.
Now Resilience is the biggest differentiator I’ve found. Call it grit, stick-to-it-ness, finishing the job, working through or over or around obstacles. I don’t care what name you use or how you describe it, the mindset of never being licked, of figuring out some way to overcome objectives, to solve the problem no matter what the constraints. Great start-ups make due in a garage with no funding and only brains and pluck and creativity, the will to win.
I get knocked down, and I get up again.
Fall down seven times, rise up eight.
I’m not dead so I haven’t lost.
I refuse to lose.
“Because I said I would.” Alex Sheen.
“Rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I rebuilt my life.” JK Rowling.
If you can gut out the bad times, you earn the good times.
If you’re going through Hell, keep on going. Survive long enough to find a way to win.
Resilience: it’s about Will Power, not “won’t” power!
And Karma? The cosmic wheel will rotate, returning to all what they gave to the universe.
As you sow shall you reap.
“Givers get” per the Rotarians.
Do good to do well.
Work with gladness in your heart for the opportunity you are given, be it in the corner office or the mailroom. Share a smile with others because it costs you nothing to brighten someone else’s day. Do what is right even if no one will ever know otherwise, because it is the intrinsically correct thing to do and YOU will know, thus subconsciously influencing your future actions and interactions.
Help someone out in some way, even if you have limited resources. Pay it forward, because integrity echoes and resounds in the market and the halls of eternity. We teach the Cub Scouts to “do a good turn daily”, and focusing on assisting others will lessen your own burdens and allow you to operate more freely. Serving the greater good in whatever way works for you will enrich your life and be returned to you in some capacity at some point.
Essentially every major world religion has a variation of The Golden Rule. Living this law, putting Team before Self, Others instead of I, is an attitude that is more than prevalent among the truly successful in sports and business. Servant leaders know that they will be ok and sleep well at night by doing the right things. Helping others helps them.
What goes around comes around.
Karma is not a bitch. Karma is just and powerful. You should be too.
So that’s it. PARK. Pride, Action, Resilience, Karma. The four components of sustainable success in any endeavor. All areas that we can all improve upon, competencies that we can develop through work and coaching if we truly desire to succeed and are willing to make the little sacrifices to achieve the great rewards that await.